Winger previews a trip to Shrewsbury TownSaturday sees a meeting between two of the most in-form teams in Sky Bet League 2 when Exeter City visit Shrewsbury Town. And while it is likely to be one of the Grecians’ toughest fixtures of the season, winger Lee Holmes feels that the hosts will also be aware that they have a game on their hands.
The Grecians have the netted the second-highest number of goals on the road in the division this season, and are unbeaten away since losing to a late goal at Portsmouth on Valentine’s Day.
The Shrews sit just a point behind leaders Burton in the standings, and much of their success has been built on their formidable home form – only Northampton have come away with three points in the Football League this season.
But Holmes feels that the rich vein of form that Exeter have hit makes them a daunting proposition for any team.
“I don’t think they’ll want to play us,” said Holmes. “We’re in a good position, so if there’s any team in the league at the minute that’s going to be facing them and giving them a tough game, it’s going to be us.
“We’ll see what comes and make sure that we’re at it, and make sure that we give everything we’ve got.
“It’s not going to be an easy ride – we’ve still got a lot to play for and we’re still in a good position, so if we can do what we’re capable of doing, we’ll give anyone a game in this league.
“I don’t know much about Shrewsbury’s football this season, but they’re obviously where they are for a reason. I think it’s our job now to go there and give them a game and make sure that we play to the best of our ability.”
Holmes wasted little time in making an impression in City colours. After coming off the bench for his debut against Stevenage – before he had even trained with his new teammates – he has gone on to feature in every game since.
That is a marked difference from his time with Portsmouth on loan earlier in the year, where he only played one full game during his five fixtures for Pompey.
He has made 90-minute appearances for his last three outings against Morecambe, Luton and Newport and is aiming to keep continuing to raise his standards game by game.
“I needed 90 minutes under my belt, and to get three in quick succession was good,” he continued. “The thing now is that I think there’s more to come.
“I’ve not played much football all season, and for them to be the first things that I’ve done since I’ve been here has been good and it has been positive for me. But I’m looking to kick on now and so that every game I’m at my best.
“The more you play, the better you feel. I feel better for playing and hopefully we’ll be able to have a good end to the season.”
The Grecians have won three and drawn two of the five games that he has played – that points total has helped to close the gap on the teams above.
In particular the two Easter fixtures – a dramatic 3-2 Good Friday win at Luton Town and a 2-0 Easter Monday triumph at home against Newport County AFC have reined in two of their promotion rivals.
So it has been an enjoyable induction to life at the Park so far for Holmes, and he is hopeful of carrying that on until the final weekend.
“The team was in decent form when I got here, but it has been nice to take that on,” Lee said. “We’ve had some big games in that period – obviously the last two have been big against Luton and Newport.
“So it has been nice to pick up some results and points in that time, which has put us in a good position.
“Games like Luton don’t come around very often, and when you’re on the right side of those games there is no better feeling in football.
“It was an uphill battle but the lads dug in deep and to win in the manner we did and in the last minute made it so special. Those are the moments you play football for.
“There will always be teams dropping points – ourselves in some games – you just don’t know what the future holds.
“But you’ve got to keep taking every game as it comes and enjoying your football, and hopefully at the end of the season we’re in the place we want to be.”